|Full name||Burnley Football Club|
|Short name||BUR, BFC|
|Founded||18 May 1882|
|2018–19||Premier League, 15th of 20|
Burnley Football Club (//) is an English professional association football club based in Burnley, Lancashire. Founded on 18 May 1882, the club was one of the first to become professional (in 1883), putting pressure on The Football Association to allow professionalism. As a result, the club was able to enter the FA Cup for the first time in 1885–86, and it was one of six Lancashire clubs in the twelve founding members of the Football League in 1888–89. The club currently competes in the Premier League, the first tier of English football.
Burnley have been champions of England twice, in 1920–21 and 1959–60, have won the FA Cup once, in 1913–14, and have won the FA Charity Shield twice, in 1960 and 1973. They have been runners-up in the First Division (now the Premier League) twice, in 1919–20 and 1961–62, and FA Cup runners-up twice, in 1946–47 and 1961–62. The club also reached the quarter-finals of the 1960–61 European Cup. Burnley are one of only five teams to have won all the top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End, Sheffield United and Portsmouth.
Burnley have played home games at Turf Moor since 17 February 1883, after they had moved from their original premises at Calder Vale. The club colours of claret and blue were adopted prior to the 1910–11 season in tribute to the then dominant club of English football, Aston Villa; the team are today nicknamed "the Clarets", due to the dominant colour of the home shirts. Burnley's current emblem is based on the town's crest. The team have a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Blackburn Rovers, with whom they contest the East Lancashire Derby.
Early years (1882–1912)
On 18 May 1882, members of Burnley Rovers Rugby Club gathered at the Bull Hotel in Burnley to vote for a shift from rugby union to association football, since other sports clubs in the area had changed their codes to association football and more income could be generated by playing football. A large majority voted in favour of change of sports. A short time later, the club secretary, George Waddington, met with his committee and put forward another proposal, to drop "Rovers" from the club's name, thereby "adopting the psychological high ground over many other local clubs by carrying the name of the town", which the committee members unanimously agreed on.
On 10 August, Burnley Football Club played their first-ever match as an association football club against local team Burnley Wanderers, winning 4–0. The team played the match in a blue and white kit, the colours of the former rugby club, at their home ground Calder Vale, which was also adopted from the rugby club. Burnley's first competitive game was in October 1882 against Astley Bridge in the Lancashire Cup, that game ending in an 8–0 defeat. In February 1883, the club was invited by Burnley Cricket Club to move to a pitch adjacent to the cricket field at Turf Moor. Both clubs have remained there since, and only Lancashire rivals Preston North End have continuously occupied the same ground for longer.
That same year saw Burnley win their first silverware as an association football club. In January 1883, Dr Thomas Dean, Burnley's Medical Officer of Health, instigated a football tournament to raise funds for the town's proposed new hospital (the Victoria Hospital); a knockout competition between amateur clubs in the Burnley area, the final was played at Burnley's new home ground. Burnley won the Dr Dean Trophy (a silver goblet) outright, and subsequently won the new Hospital Cup in 1884 and on multiple occasions in later years.
By the end of 1883, the club turned professional and signed many Scottish players, who were, at the time, regarded as the best footballers. As a result of turning professional, Burnley renounced joining the Football Association (FA) and its FA Cup, since the association refused to allow professional players. In 1884, Burnley led a group of 35 other clubs in forming a breakaway, the British Football Association, to challenge the supremacy of the FA. This threat of secession led to professionalism being permitted by an FA rule change on 20 July 1885, making the new body redundant. Burnley's main rivals at this point were neighbours Padiham and the fiery matches between the two attracted up to 12,000 fans.
Burnley made their first appearance in the FA Cup in 1885–86; however, professional players remained barred from playing in the FA Cup that year, so Burnley's reserve side were fielded and lost 11–0 to Darwen Old Wanderers. A year later, on 13 October 1886, Turf Moor became the first professional ground to be visited by a member of the Royal Family, when Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor, attended a match between Burnley and Bolton Wanderers, after he opened the new Victoria Hospital in the town. When it was decided to found the Football League for the 1888–89 season, Burnley were among the twelve founders of that competition, and one of the six clubs based in Lancashire. Burnley's William Tait became the first player to score a hat-trick in league football in only the second match, when his three goals gave the Clarets an away win against Bolton Wanderers. The club eventually finished ninth in the first season of the league, but only one place from bottom in 1889–90, following a 17-game winless streak at the start of the season. That season did present Burnley with their first Lancashire Cup, beating local rivals Blackburn Rovers 2–0 in the final. Burnley were at this point also known as "Turfites", "Moorites" or "Royalites" as a result of the name of their ground and the royal connection.
Burnley were relegated to the Second Division for the first time in 1896–97. The team responded to this by winning the division the next season, losing only two of 30 matches before gaining promotion through a play-off series between four clubs, then known as test matches. Burnley and First Division club Stoke both entered the last match, to be played between the two teams, needing a draw for promotion (or in Stoke's case to retain their First Division place). A 0–0 draw ensued, reportedly "The match without a shot at goal", and the Football League immediately withdrew the test match system in favour of automatic promotion and relegation, after Burnley director and Football League Management Committee member Charles Sutcliffe had already made a proposal to discontinue test matches. Ironically, the Football League decided to expand the First Division from 16 to 18 clubs after a motion by Burnley, meaning the other two teams (Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United) also went into the first tier.
Burnley were relegated again in 1899–1900 and found themselves at the centre of a controversy when the club's goalkeeper, Jack Hillman, attempted to bribe the opponents, Nottingham Forest, in the last match of the season, resulting in his suspension for the whole of the following season. It was the earliest recorded case of match fixing in football. During the first decade of the 20th century, Burnley continued to play in the Second Division, even finishing in bottom place in 1902–03 (but were re-elected). Alarming performances on the field mixed with a considerable debt saw manager Ernest Mangnall leave the club for Manchester United in October 1903. In 1907, 30-year-old Burnley supporter Harry Windle was invited onto the Burnley board to become a director. Two years later, he was elected chairman, and under his guidance Burnley's finances turned around. The team reached the quarter-finals of the 1908–09 FA Cup, in which they were eliminated by Manchester United in a replay. In the original match, on a snowy Turf Moor pitch, Burnley had led 1–0, when the match was abandoned after 72 minutes. In 1910, Mangnall's successor Spen Whittaker died, after he fell off a train. Under new manager John Haworth, Burnley changed their colours from green to the claret and sky blue of Aston Villa, the then Football League champions, for the 1910–11 season, as Haworth and the Burnley committee believed it might bring a change of fortune. The tides did indeed turn the following season, when only a loss in the last game of the season denied the club promotion.
Clarets' glory either side of the First World War (1912–1946)
Burnley continued to improve, as in the 1912–13 season they were promoted to the First Division once more, as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final, only to lose to Sunderland. The next season was one of consolidation in the top flight, but more importantly the first major honour, the FA Cup, was won, against fellow Lancastrians Liverpool in the final (1–0). Centre forward Bert Freeman, whose father travelled from Australia to see his son play in the final, scored the only goal, as Burnley became the first club to beat five First Division clubs in one cup season. This was the last final to be played at Crystal Palace and King George V became the first reigning monarch to attend an FA Cup Final and to present the cup to the winning captain, in this case to Tommy Boyle.
Burnley finished fourth in the First Division in 1914–15, before English football was suspended during wartime. Upon resumption of full-time football in 1919–20, Burnley finished second in the First Division to West Bromwich Albion, but this was not a peak, merely presaging Burnley's first ever First Division championship in 1920–21. The team lost the opening three matches that season before going on a 30-match unbeaten run, a record for unbeaten games in a single season that lasted until Arsenal went unbeaten through the whole of the 2003–04 season. Burnley could not retain the title and finished third the following season. The successful John Haworth became the second Burnley manager to die while in office in 1924, when he died of pneumonia. In April 1926, centre-forward Louis Page scored a club record six goals in an away league match against Birmingham City. Thereafter followed a steady deterioration of their position, with only fifth place in 1926–27 offering respite from a series of near-relegations which culminated in demotion in 1929–30. Burnley struggled in the second tier, narrowly avoiding a further relegation in 1931–32 by two points. The years through to the outbreak of the Second World War were characterised by uninspiring league finishes, broken only by an FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1934–35, and the arrival (and equally swift departure) of centre-forward Tommy Lawton. Burnley participated in the varying football leagues that continued throughout the war, but it was not until 1946 that football was restored.
Golden, progressive era under Bob Lord, Alan Brown and Harry Potts (1946–1976)
In the first season of post-war league football, Burnley gained promotion through second place in the Second Division. The team's defence were nicknamed "The Iron Curtain", since they only conceded 29 goals in 42 league matches. Additionally, there was a run to the FA Cup Final for the second time, with Aston Villa, Coventry City, Luton Town, Middlesbrough and Liverpool being defeated before Charlton Athletic beat Burnley 1–0 after extra time at Wembley. The team immediately made an impact in the top division, finishing third in 1947–48 as they began to assemble a team capable of regularly aiming for honours.
From 1955 to 1981, under the reign of lifelong Burnley supporter and chairman Bob Lord, later described as "the Khrushchev of Burnley" as a result of his authoritative attitude, the club became one of the most progressive around. On account of manager Alan Brown and Lord, Burnley became one of the first clubs to build a purpose-built training centre (Gawthorpe), which opened its doors in July 1955, while most teams trained on public parks or at their own grounds. Gawthorpe was built on the outskirts of the town and as well as using paid labour, manager Brown helped to dig out the ground himself. Brown also "volunteered" several of his players to help out. Further, Burnley became, after foundations were again laid by Lord and Brown, renowned for their youth policy and scouting system, which yielded many young players over the years such as Jimmy Adamson, Jimmy McIlroy, John Connelly, Willie Morgan and Martin Dobson. An acclaimed scout employed by Burnley during this period was Jack Hixon, who was mainly based in North East England, and scouted many players, including Jimmy Robson, Brian O'Neil, and Ralph Coates. In his relatively short spell at the club from 1954 to 1957, Brown also introduced short corners and a huge array of free kick routines, which were soon copied across the land.
In the 1955–56 season, Burnley reached the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they were knocked out by Chelsea after four replays. In 1956–57, 17-year-old Ian Lawson, a product of the Burnley youth academy, scored a record four goals on his debut versus Chesterfield in third round of the FA Cup. A tied club record 9–0 victory over New Brighton in the next round followed — despite missing a penalty — and the following season former Burnley player Harry Potts was appointed manager. The team mainly revolved around the duo of captain Jimmy Adamson and playmaker Jimmy McIlroy. Potts often employed the, at the time unfashionable, 4–4–2 formation and he introduced Total Football to English football in his first managerial seasons at Burnley.
Burnley endured a tense 1959–60 season in which Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers were the other protagonists in the chase for the league title. The team ultimately clinched their second First Division championship on the last day of the season with a 2–1 victory at Manchester City, with goals from Brian Pilkington and Trevor Meredith. Although the team had been in contention all season, Burnley had never led the table until this last match was played out. Potts only used 18 players throughout the whole season, as John Connelly became Burnley's top scorer with 20 goals. The Lancastrians' title-winning squad cost only £13,000 (equivalent to £300,000 in 2020)[nb 1] in transfer fees — £8,000 on McIlroy in 1950 and £5,000 on left-back Alex Elder in 1959. The other players all came from the Burnley youth academy. The town of Burnley became the smallest to have an English first tier champion, since it counted 80,000 inhabitants. After the season finished, Burnley went to the United States to participate in the inaugural international football tournament in North America, the International Soccer League.
The following season, Burnley played in European competition for the first time, in the European Cup, beating former finalists Reims, before losing to Hamburger SV in the quarter-finals. The club finished fourth in the league, and lost the FA Cup semi-final to Tottenham, who went on to become the first English club in the 20th century to win the double. Burnley finished the 1961–62 season as runners-up (after winning only two of the last thirteen league matches) to newly promoted Ipswich Town and had a run to the FA Cup Final, where a Jimmy Robson goal, the 100th FA Cup Final goal at Wembley, was the only reply to three goals from Tottenham. Jimmy Adamson was, however, named Footballer of the Year in English football after the season ended, with McIlroy as runner-up. Burnley also had, due to their success in this period, several players with international caps, including, for England Ray Pointer, Colin McDonald, and John Connelly, for Northern Ireland Jimmy McIlroy and for Scotland Adam Blacklaw.
Nonetheless, although far from a two-man team, the controversial departure of McIlroy to Stoke City and retirement of Adamson coincided with a decline in fortunes. Even more damaging was the impact of the abolition of the maximum wage in 1961, meaning clubs from small towns, like Burnley, could no longer compete financially with teams from bigger towns and cities. The club managed, however, to retain a First Division place throughout the decade finishing third in 1965–66, with Willie Irvine becoming the league's top goal scorer that season, and reaching the semi-final of the League Cup in 1968–69. Burnley had also reached the quarter-finals of the 1966–67 Fairs Cup, in which they were knocked out by German side Eintracht Frankfurt.
Potts was replaced by Adamson as manager in 1970 after a 12-year spell. Adamson was unable to halt the slide and relegation followed in 1970–71 ending a long unbroken top flight spell of 24 consecutive seasons during which, more often than not, Burnley had been in the upper reaches of the league table. Burnley won the Second Division title in 1972–73, losing only four times in 42 matches. As a result, the team were invited to play in the 1973 FA Charity Shield where they emerged as winners against the reigning holders of the shield, Manchester City. In the First Division, led by playmaker Martin Dobson and Leighton James, the side managed to finish sixth in 1973–74 as well as reaching another FA Cup semi-final; this time losing out to Newcastle United. The following season the team were victims of one of the great FA Cup shocks of all time when Wimbledon, then in the Southern League, beat Burnley 1–0 at Turf Moor. Adamson left the club in January 1976, and relegation from the First Division followed later that year. In ensuing seasons, declining home attendances combined with a growing debt forced Burnley to sell their best players, like Dobson and James, causing a rapid fall through the divisions.
Decline and near oblivion (1976–1987)
Three nondescript seasons in the Second Division followed before relegation to the Third Division for the first time in 1979–80. In 42 league games, Burnley could not manage a win in any of the first 16 or the last 16 games of the season. In September 1981, with the team in the Third Division relegation zone, and close to bankruptcy, Lord decided to retire. The remainder of the season, under the management of former Burnley player Brian Miller, saw only three more defeats after October, as Burnley were promoted as champions in their centenary year. However, this return was short-lived, lasting only one year; albeit a year in which the team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the semi-final of the League Cup, recording victories over Tottenham and Liverpool in the latter. Burnley won 1–0 against Liverpool in the League Cup semi-final second leg, but it was not enough for an appearance in the final, as Burnley had lost the first leg 3–0.
Managerial changes continued to be made in an unsuccessful search for success; Miller was replaced by Frank Casper in early 1983, he by John Bond before the 1983–84 season and Bond himself by John Benson a season later. The unpopular Bond was the first Burnley manager since Frank Hill (1948–1954) without a previous playing career at the club. He was criticised for signing expensive players, which increased Burnley's debt, and for selling young talents Lee Dixon, Brian Laws and Trevor Steven. Benson was in charge when Burnley were relegated to the fourth level of English football for the first time at the end of the 1984–85 season. It also marked the fifth relegation in the past fifteen seasons, most strikingly, finishing 21st in each of those five seasons.
Martin Buchan (briefly) and then Tommy Cavanagh saw the side through 1985–86 before Miller returned for the 1986–87 season, the last match of which is known as "The Orient Game". For the 1986–87 season, the Football League had decided to introduce automatic relegation and promotion between the Fourth Division and the Football Conference, the top tier of non-league football. Although, in retrospect, this only served to blur the lines between professional and semi-professional leagues in England, at the time it was perceived that teams losing league status might never recover from this. Additionally, Burnley had a new local rival in Colne Dynamoes who were rapidly progressing through the English non-league system at the same time as the former champions of England were in the lowest level of the Football League. Colne's chairman-manager, Graham White, had multiple proposals rejected by the Burnley board for a groundshare of Turf Moor, as he even attempted to buy Burnley in early 1989. Two years earlier, the Burnley board had attempted to purchase almost bankrupt Welsh club Cardiff City and relocate it to Turf Moor, if Burnley would be relegated, in what would have been the Football League's first franchise operation. In a disastrous season, which saw only 12 wins in 46 league games and a first round FA Cup 3–0 defeat at non-league Telford United, Burnley went into the last match in bottom place needing a win against Orient, and for Lincoln City to lose and for Torquay United to not win. A 2–1 win, before a crowd of over 15,000 (the club's average home league attendance before the match was 2,800), with goals from Neil Grewcock and Ian Britton, was enough to keep Burnley in the Fourth Division, as Torquay drew and Lincoln lost, getting relegated as a result.
In May 1988, Burnley were back at Wembley; this time to play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the final of the Associate Members' Cup, which they lost 2–0. The match was attended by 80,000 people, a record for a tie between two teams from English football's fourth tier. In 1990–91, the club qualified for the Fourth Division play-offs under manager Casper, where they were eliminated in the semi-final by Torquay United. The following season, Burnley fared better, as they became champions under new manager Jimmy Mullen in the last ever season of the Fourth Division before the league reorganisation. Mullen succeeded Casper in October, as Mullen won his first nine league matches in charge. By winning the Fourth Division title, the Clarets became only the second club to win all top four professional divisions of English football, after Wolves. In 1993–94, Burnley won the Second Division play-offs and gained promotion to the second tier. After winning 3–1 on aggregate against Plymouth Argyle in the semi-final, Burnley faced Stockport County in the final at Wembley. Burnley won 2–1, in a fierce battle (two Stockport players were sent off) in front of approximately 35,000 Burnley supporters (the total attendance was 44,806). Relegation followed after one season and in 1997–98 only a last day 2–1 victory over Plymouth ensured a narrow escape from relegation back into the fourth tier. Chris Waddle was player-manager in that season and Glenn Roeder his assistant, but their departures and the appointment of Stan Ternent that summer saw the club start to make further progress. In 1999–2000, they finished second in the Second Division and gained promotion back to the second tier, with the club's striker and lifelong Clarets fan Andy Payton being the division's top goal scorer.
Burnley immediately made an impact, as during the 2000–01 and 2001–02 seasons, they emerged as serious contenders for a promotion play-off place. In the latter season, Burnley missed the last play-off place by a single goal. In early 2002, financial problems caused by the collapse of ITV Digital brought the club again close to administration. By 2002–03, the form on the field had declined as well, despite a good FA Cup run, where they reached the quarter-finals. In June 2004, Ternent's six years as manager came to an end, narrowly avoiding relegation in his last season with a squad composed of many loanees and some players who were not entirely fit. Steve Cotterill was then appointed as manager. Cotterill's first year in charge produced two notable cup runs, beating Liverpool and Aston Villa in the third rounds of the FA Cup and the League Cup, respectively. In the 2006–07 campaign, the team went 19 consecutive matches without a win stretching from December to March. The sequence of draws and losses was finally broken in April, as Burnley beat Plymouth Argyle 4–0 at home. After that, a short run of good form in the final weeks of the competition saw Burnley finish comfortably above the relegation places, ensuring that they remained in the Championship.
The following season, a poor run of results led to the departure of Cotterill in November 2007. His replacement was St Johnstone manager Owen Coyle. The 2008–09 season, Coyle's first full season in charge, ended with the Clarets' highest league finish since 1976; fifth in the Championship. Burnley qualified for the Championship play-offs and beat Reading 3–0 on aggregate in the semi-final. In the final, the team defeated Sheffield United 1–0 at Wembley Stadium, Wade Elliott scoring the goal, promoting Burnley to the Premier League; a return to the top flight after 33 years. Furthermore, Burnley reached the semi-final of the League Cup for the first time in over 25 years, after beating local clubs Bury and Oldham Athletic and London-based clubs Fulham, Chelsea and Arsenal. In the semi-finals Burnley faced another London club, Tottenham, and lost the first leg 4–1. After being up by three goals to nil at home after 90 minutes, the away goals rule only comes into play during extra time in the League Cup, the Clarets crashed out after two Spurs goals in the last two minutes of extra time, preventing two Wembley appearances in one season.
Premier League promotions, relegations and back in Europe (2009–present)
Burnley's promotion made the town of Burnley the smallest to host a Premier League club, since the rebranding of the league divisions in 1992. Burnley started the season well, becoming the first newly promoted team in the Premier League to win their first four league home games, including a 1–0 win over defending champions Manchester United. However, manager Coyle left Burnley in January 2010, to manage local rivals Bolton Wanderers. Coyle described Bolton as "five or 10 years ahead" of Burnley. He was replaced by Brian Laws, but Burnley's form plummeted under the new manager, and the team were relegated after a single season in the Premier League. Laws was dismissed in December 2010 and replaced by Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe. Howe guided Burnley to an eighth-place finish in the Championship in his first season, narrowly missing out on a play-off place. Nonetheless, he left the club in October 2012 to rejoin his hometown club Bournemouth; Howe citing personal reasons for the move. He was replaced in the same month by Watford manager Sean Dyche.
Before the start of the 2013–14 season, Burnley were tipped as one of the relegation candidates, as Dyche had to work with a tight budget and a small squad, and they had lost top goal scorer Charlie Austin to Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers. However, the team finished second and were automatically promoted back to the Premier League in Dyche's first full season in charge, as the new strike partnership of Danny Ings (who also won the Championship Player of the Year award) and Sam Vokes had 41 league goals between them. Dyche only used 23 players throughout the season, which was the joint-lowest in the division, and he paid a transfer fee for only one player since his appointment — £400,000 on striker Ashley Barnes. But again, the stay in the Premier League only lasted a single season as Burnley finished 19th out of 20 clubs and were subsequently relegated. Burnley won the Championship title on their return in 2015–16, equaling their club record of 93 points of 2013–14, and ending the season with a run of 23 league games undefeated. New signing Andre Gray finished as the league's top goal scorer with 25 goals.
With a combination of excellent home form with poor away results, Burnley finished the 2016–17 season in 16th place, six points above the relegation zone, and were thus ensured to play consecutive seasons in the top flight for the first time in the Premier League era. Burnley completed construction of Barnfield Training Centre, in 2017, which replaced the 60-year-old Gawthorpe. Dyche was involved in the design of the training centre and had willingly tailored his transfer spending as he and the board focused on the club's infrastructure and future. The 2017–18 season started off with an away win against defending champions Chelsea (3–2). It was a start signal for a reversed away form, as Burnley finished the season with more points collected on the road than at home. Burnley ultimately secured an unexpected seventh place at the end of the season, their highest league finish since 1973–74, and thus qualified for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, meaning the team qualified for a competitive European competition for the first time in 51 years. However, the European campaign was already over in August, as the team crashed out in the play-offs against Greek side Olympiacos, after they had eliminated Scottish club Aberdeen and Turkish side İstanbul Başakşehir in the previous qualifying rounds.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Under-23s and Academy
|Assistant manager||Ian Woan|
|First team coach||Tony Loughlan|
|Goalkeeping coach||Billy Mercer|
|Head physiotherapist||Alasdair Beattie|
|Head of sports science||Mark Howard|
Board of directors
|Chief executive||Neil Hart|
Chairman Mike Garlick holds 49.24% of outstanding shares of Burnley F.C. and member of the board of directors John Banaszkiewicz another 28.2%. The other five members of the board hold, between them, a total of 16.36%. The total holding of shares by all board members amounts to 93.8%.
Burnley is one of the few clubs in the Premier League which is British-owned. Every director at the club is locally born or based, and receives no wages. As of 2019–20, Burnley is debt-free.
The following have been chairman of the club's board of directors:
Notable former players and managers
Burnley have been represented by numerous high-profile players over the years, most notably Jimmy McIlroy and Jimmy Adamson, the latter earning the Footballer of the Year award in 1962, the first and to date only time a Burnley player has won this award. Four years later, Burnley youth graduate Willie Irvine became the First Division top goal scorer, also a unique feat in the club's history. Welshman Leighton James is the only Burnley player to have been included in the PFA Team of the Year while playing in the first tier, when he was selected as a member of the 1974–75 squad. In total, 29 players have won full England caps during their time with the Clarets, Bob Kelly having won the most caps (11) and scored the most goals (6) for the English national team.
The English Football Hall of Fame currently contains five former Burnley players: Tommy Lawton, Jimmy McIlroy, Mike Summerbee, Ian Wright and Paul Gascoigne; the latter three had, however, relatively short spells at the Clarets and were at the end of their playing careers. Two of these five players, Lawton and McIlroy, also featured in a list entitled "The Football League 100 Legends", as Burnley's only representatives. The list was released by the Football League in 1998, to celebrate the 100th season of league football. Jimmy McIlroy was voted as PFA Fans' Favourite by Burnley fans in 2007.
In 2017, pictures of 31 "Clarets' legends" from different eras in the club's history were hung beside the turnstiles of Turf Moor. The players were picked by the fans of Burnley via an online vote. It was a cooperation between the club and members of the Burnley supporters' clubs, to "improve the appearance of the ground and provide a vivid history of some of the greatest players to wear a claret and blue shirt". The Clarets' first international, John Yates, had to be omitted because no suitable image of him could be found, therefore giving his spot to George Halley. Including Yates, the following 32 players were picked:
Player of the Year Award
As voted by the club's supporters at the end of every season.
|Harry Bradshaw||England||August 1894||June 1899||164||65||37||62||39.63||Football League Second Division champions: 1897–98|
|John Haworth||England||July 1910||December 1924||464||203||106||155||43.75||FA Cup winners: 1913–14|
Football League First Division champions: 1920–21
|Harry Potts||England||February 1958||February 1970||605||272||141||192||44.96||Football League First Division champions: 1959–60|
FA Charity Shield winners (shared): 1960
|Jimmy Adamson||England||February 1970||January 1976||272||104||74||94||38.24||Football League Second Division champions: 1972–73|
FA Charity Shield winners: 1973
|Harry Potts (2)||England||February 1977||October 1979||123||42||32||49||34.15||Anglo–Scottish Cup winners: 1978–79|
|Brian Miller||England||October 1979||January 1983||166||57||50||59||34.34||Football League Third Division champions: 1981–82|
|Jimmy Mullen||England||October 1991||February 1996||249||97||67||85||38.96||Football League Fourth Division champions: 1991–92|
Football League Second Division play–off winners: 1993–94
|Owen Coyle||Ireland||November 2007||January 2010||116||49||29||38||42.24||Football League Championship play–off winners: 2008–09|
|Sean Dyche||England||October 2012||338||128||91||119||37.87||Football League Championship champions: 2015–16|
Kits and colours
In the early years, various kit designs and colours were used by Burnley. Throughout the first nine years these were various permutations of blue and white, the colours of the club's forerunners Burnley Rovers Rugby Club. After two years of claret and amber stripes with black shorts, for much of the 1890s a combination of black with yellow stripes was used, although Burnley wore a shirt with pink and white stripes during the 1894–95 season. Between 1897 and 1900 the club used a plain red shirt and from 1900 until 1910 it changed to an all green shirt with white shorts. In 1910, Burnley changed their colours to claret and sky blue, the colours that they now have had for the majority of their history, save for a spell in white shirts and black shorts during the 1930s. The adoption of the claret and sky blue colour combination was a homage to league champions Aston Villa, who wore those colours. The Burnley committee and manager John Haworth believed it might bring a change of fortune. Burnley's away kit for the 2006–07 season, a yellow shirt with claret bar, yellow shorts and yellow socks, won the "Best Kit Design" award at the Football League Awards.
Kit suppliers and shirt sponsors
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor (chest)||Shirt sponsor (sleeve)|
|2015–16||Oak Furniture Land|
The Clarets' first recorded usage of a crest was on 17 December 1887, when the club wore the Royal Arms on the shirt. The Prince of Wales, Prince Albert Victor, had visited Turf Moor in October 1886 when Burnley were playing Bolton Wanderers — the first visit to a professional football ground by a member of the Royal Family. Afterwards, the team received a set of white jerseys, featuring a blue sash and embellished with the Royal Arms, to commemorate the visit. The team would regularly wear the royal crest until 1895, when it disappeared from the shirts. When Burnley played the 1914 FA Cup Final watched by King George V, the Royal Arms featured once again on the claret and blue shirts.
From 1914, Burnley played in unadorned shirts, albeit the coat of arms of the town of Burnley was worn in the FA Cup semi-final in 1935 and the 1947 FA Cup Final. In 1960, when Burnley won the First Division for a second time, they were allowed to wear the town's crest on their shirts for an indefinite period of time. The town's coat of arms was worn until 1969, when it was replaced with the vertical initials "BFC". In 1975, the initials were placed horizontally and were lettered with gold. Four years after that, in 1979, the club used a new designed badge, before returning to a horizontal version of the "BFC" initials in 1983, which were lettered in white this time. In 1987, Burnley returned to the crest used from 1979 to 1983.
The latest major change to Burnley's crest came in 2009. To mark Burnley's first ever season in the Premier League era, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1959–60 First Division title win, Burnley decided to return to the crest used from 1960 to 1969. The following season, the town's Latin motto "Pretiumque et Causa Laboris" (English translation: "The prize and the cause of [our] labour") was replaced with the inscription "Burnley Football Club".
Burnley's current badge is based on the town's coat of arms. The stork at the top of the badge is a reference to the Starkie family, who were prominent in the rural area of Burnley. In its mouth it holds the Lacy knot, the badge of the de Lacy family, who held Burnley and Blackburnshire in medieval times. The stork is standing on a hill (the Pennines) and cotton plants — which represents the cotton making heritage of the town. In the black band, the hand represents the town of Burnley's motto, "Held to the Truth", derived from the Towneley family. The two bees refer to the town's "busy ambience" and the saying "as busy as a bee", but also allude to the old Bee Hole End (currently the Jimmy McIlroy Stand) at Turf Moor. Beneath, the wavy, claret-coloured line refers to the River Brun, which runs through the town. The lion represents royalty, since the club was visited by Prince Albert Victor in 1886.
Burnley have played their home games at Turf Moor since February 1883, after playing at their original premises at Calder Vale for nine months. The Turf Moor site was first used for sport in 1833, when Burnley Cricket Club was established. In early 1883, they invited Burnley Football Club to move to a pitch adjacent to the cricket field, making Turf Moor the second longest continuously used ground, behind Preston North End's Deepdale.
The ground originally consisted of just a pitch and the first grandstand was not built until 1885. In 1888, the first league match at Turf Moor was an encounter against Bolton Wanderers, with Burnley emerging as 4–1 winners, Fred Poland scoring the first league goal at the stadium. At the time of the First World War, under chairman Harry Windle, the stadium's capacity was increased from 20,000 to 50,000, partly funded by the club's FA Cup win in 1914. In 1922, the ground hosted its only FA Cup semi-final to date, between Huddersfield Town and Notts County, and five years later it hosted its only senior international match, between England and Wales for the British Home Championship. From the end of the Second World War until the mid-1960s, crowds in the stadium averaged in the 20,000–35,000 range, and Burnley averaged a club-record attendance of 33,621 in the First Division in 1947–48. The record attendance for a single match was already set in 1924 against Huddersfield Town in a third round FA Cup tie, when 54,755 spectators attended. In 1960, in a fifth round FA Cup replay against Bradford City, there was an official reported attendance of 52,850 at Turf Moor. Some of the gates were, however, broken down and many uncounted fans poured into the ground. Many supporters were also locked out, and the road from Bradford over the Moss at Colne had to be closed to traffic.
Until 1974, Turf Moor had a slight slope in the field, when the pitch was relayed to remove it. This was done by raising the pitch and installing a new drainage system. During the mid-1990s, the ground underwent further refurbishment when the Longside and Bee Hole End terraces were replaced by all-seater stands as a result of the Taylor Report, reducing the capacity in the progress.
The stadium consists of four stands; the James Hargreaves Stand (formerly the Longside), the Jimmy McIlroy Stand (formerly the Bee Hole End), the Bob Lord Stand, and the Cricket Field Stand for home and away fans. The current capacity is 21,944 all-seated.
Supporters and rivalries
Supporters of Burnley are traditionally drawn from East Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Furthermore, the club is one of the best supported clubs in English football per head of population, with average attendances of 20,000 in the Premier League in a town of approximately 73,000 inhabitants. In 1959–60, when the team won the First Division, the fan-ratio of Burnley was almost thrice the top flight average, as Turf Moor had an average home attendance of 26,869 and the town counted about 80,000 residents; a ratio of about 34 per cent. Although as well as having a loyal, local fan base, the club also has numerous supporters' clubs across the United Kingdom and overseas, with supporters' clubs in Australia, Finland, Nigeria, Poland, Thailand, and United States amongst others. The club is still popular to the older generation of the African island of Mauritius, since Burnley played a few games in Mauritius and Madagascar as part of an Indian Ocean tour in 1954. The club's supporters have a long-standing supporters' friendship with Dutch team Helmond Sport since 1995. Burnley and Helmond have a small following who regularly make an overseas journey to visit each other's matches. A frequently sung chant by Burnley supporters since the early 1970s is "No Nay Never", an adaptation of the traditional song "Wild Rover", which has lyrics to offend the club's main rivals Blackburn Rovers.
When falling down to the lower leagues and the simultaneously growing presence of hooliganism in English football in the 1980s, a hooligan firm linked to Burnley was established, called the "Suicide Squad", which became infamous for violently clashing with many other firms and fans in the country. They also featured in the television documentary series The Real Football Factories presented by Danny Dyer. Twelve members of the Suicide Squad were sentenced to jail for a total of 32 years in 2011, after a high-profile incident with supporters of Blackburn Rovers in 2009.
In 2019, Burnley fan Scott Cunliffe was honoured by the UEFA with the #EqualGame Award "for his work as role model highlighting diversity, inclusion and accessibility in football". During the 2018–19 campaign he ran to every single away match, as he covered more than 3,000 miles. It was labelled the "RunAway Challenge" and he raised more than £50,000 for Premier League clubs' community trusts and local charities in Burnley. Notable fans over the years have included football pioneer Jimmy Hogan, who was a regular attendee at Turf Moor, journalist Alastair Campbell, who has been regularly involved in events with the club, and cricketer James Anderson, who also worked in the club's ticket office on a part-time basis.
A popular drink served at home matches since the First World War is "Béné & Hot" — the French liqueur Bénédictine topped up with hot water. This is as a result of Great War soldiers of the East Lancashire Regiment acquiring a taste for the drink whilst stationed in France during the War. The soldiers drank it with hot water to keep warm in the trenches and the surviving soldiers returned to the East Lancashire area with the liqueur. In excess of 30 bottles are sold at each home game, making the club one of the world's biggest sellers of the liqueur, and Turf Moor is the only British football ground to sell the liqueur.
Burnley's main rivals are Blackburn Rovers, with whom they contest the East Lancashire Derby, named after the region both clubs hail from. Games between these clubs from former mill towns are also known under the name "Cotton Mills derby", although not as common. Both clubs are founder members of the Football League and have won the First Division and the FA Cup. The two clubs are separated by only 14 miles and besides the geographical proximity, the clubs have a long-standing history of fierce rivalry too; the first competitive clash being a Football League match in 1888, in the inaugural season of the competition. Four years earlier, however, they had met for the first time, although in a pre-league friendly, with considerable pride at stake. Including the pre-league matches, there have been 115 matches played between both, with Burnley having the slightly better head-to-head record of the two teams, the Clarets winning 49 games and Blackburn 45. The team's closest geographic rival are actually Accrington Stanley but, as they have never competed at the same level (although defunct club Accrington did), there is no significant rivalry between both.
Other rivalries exist with local clubs Blackpool, Bolton Wanderers and Preston North End. Burnley have regularly played them in the league and cup competitions and the encounter between Burnley and Preston is, as of 2019–20, the most frequently played match in both club's histories. When in the same tier, Burnley stage a Roses rivalry with nearby West Yorkshire clubs Bradford City and Leeds United. The Clarets also contested heated matches with Halifax Town, Plymouth Argyle, Rochdale and Stockport County in the 1990s, when Burnley were playing in the lower leagues, although feelings of animosity were mainly one-sided.
Honours and achievements
Burnley are one of only five teams (and were the second) to have won all top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Preston North End, Sheffield United and Portsmouth. The club's honours include the following:
- Winners (3): 1897–98, 1972–73, 2015–16
- Promoted (3): 1912–13, 1946–47, 2013–14
- Play–off winners (1): 2008–09
Fourth Division (Tier 4)
- Winners (1): 1991–92
- Runners–up (1): 1973–74
- Winners (1): 1978–79
- Runners–up (1): 1987–88
- Winners (12): 1889–90, 1914–15, 1949–50, 1951–52, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1992–93
Burnley in Europe
The team have participated on three occasions in European cup competitions, excluding the Texaco Cup and the Anglo-Scottish Cup. As a result of winning the 1959–60 First Division title, Burnley entered the 1960–61 European Cup, reaching the quarter-final stages, where they lost 5–4 on aggregate to Hamburger SV. The second appearance was in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1966–67 season, where the club again reached the quarter-finals. The most recent European campaign was in the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League, where they were eliminated in the play-off round.
The record for the most appearances in all competitions for Burnley is held by goalkeeper and one-club man Jerry Dawson, having made 569 first team appearances between 1907 and 1928. The club's top goal scorer is George Beel, who scored 188 goals from 1923 to 1932. He also holds the record for the most league goals scored in a season, 35 in the 1927–28 season in the First Division. Jimmy Robson and Willie Irvine have scored the most goals in all official, competitive competitions in a single season, both scoring 37 goals. In 1960–61, Robson scored 25 goals in the First Division, five in the FA Cup, four in the League Cup, and three in the European Cup. Irvine scored 29 goals in the First Division, five in the FA Cup, and three in the League Cup, in 1965–66. Jimmy McIlroy is the most capped player while playing at Burnley, making 51 appearances for Northern Ireland between 1951 and 1962. The first Burnley player to be capped was forward John Yates, who took to the field for England against Ireland at Anfield on 2 March 1889. He scored a hat-trick, but despite this, he was never called up again.
The club's largest win in league football was a 9–0 victory over Darwen in the First Division in 1891–92. Burnley's largest victories in the FA Cup have been 9–0 wins over Crystal Palace (1908–09), New Brighton (1956–57) and Penrith (1984–85). The club's record defeat is an 11–0 loss to Darwen Old Wanderers in the FA Cup first round in the 1885–86 season, when Burnley fielded their reserve side, as professional players remained barred from playing in the FA Cup that year.
The club's record home attendance is 54,775 for a third round FA Cup match against Huddersfield Town on 23 February 1924. Burnley averaged a club-record attendance of 33,621 in the First Division in 1947–48. The team's longest unbeaten run in the league was between 6 September 1920 and 25 March 1921, to which they remained unbeaten for 30 games on their way to the First Division title. It stood as the longest stretch without defeat in a single season in Football League history until Arsenal bettered it in 2003–04.
The highest transfer fee received for a Burnley player is £25 million, from Everton for defender Michael Keane in 2017, while the highest transfer fee paid by the club was both for forward Chris Wood from Leeds United in 2017 and for defender Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough in 2018. The pair were reported to be bought for a fee of £15 million each. In 1925, forward Bob Kelly broke the world transfer record, when he moved from Burnley to Sunderland for £6,550 — equivalent to £380,000 in 2020.[nb 1]
In media and popular culture
A number of films and television programmes have included references to Burnley over the past few decades. The club's supporters briefly appear in the 1965 Beatles feature film Help!, where footage of a crowd scene from the 1962 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur is used. The music video of the single "Kicker Conspiracy" from post-punk band The Fall was shot at Turf Moor in 1983. Scottish actor Colin Buchanan occasionally wore a Burnley shirt on the comedy drama series All Quiet on the Preston Front. Burnley fan Richard Moore, who had a role in the soap opera Emmerdale from 2002 to 2005, regularly sneaked his Burnley paraphernalia on set. His Burnley scarf made regular appearances on the series.
In 2002, the club's mascot, "Bertie Bee", became nationwide known for rugby tackling a streaker on the pitch at Turf Moor who had evaded the stewards during a match against local rivals Preston North End, and appeared on the BBC Television sporting panel show They Think It's All A Question of Sport after the event.
The club is referenced in The Inbetweeners Movie from 2011, when the main characters share a bus with a group of noisy Burnley fans, much to the distaste of one of the main characters, who stated in the scene that he dislikes the club. In 2012, the club's strip was worn by actress Elle Mulvaney in an episode of the series Coronation Street, after Burnley received a request from the producers to provide a kit.
When the BBC highlights programme Match of the Day began in 1964, chairman Bob Lord banned the BBC from televising matches at Turf Moor, and maintained the ban for five years, arguing that live coverage would "damage and undermine attendances".
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Burnley F.C..|
- Official club website
- Burnley F.C. on BBC Sport: Club news – Recent results and fixtures
- Burnley F.C. at Sky Sports
- Clarets Mad
- The Longside – Your Online Clarets Encyclopedia (archived)
- Clarets Trust
- Silent footage of Burnley v Manchester United (Busby Babes), 19 April 1957 by Sam Hanna (Vimeo – North West Film Archive).